A judge in France has asked Great Britain to arrest the head of Morocco’s Olympics committee in connection with the disappearance of a prominent opponent of the Moroccan king almost fifty years ago.
Hosni Benslimane, now 77 years old, is suspected of having kidnapped, along with three other soldiers, Mehdi ben Barka in 1965 in Paris – Barka was then the principal opponent of Morocco’s King Hassan II.
Barka’s body was never found and whatever became of him was never revealed. He was the leader of the leftist National Union of Popular Forces (UNPF), which he founded, and was accused of plotting to overthrow Hassan.
Over the years many theories have floated around regarding Barka’s mysterious disappearance -- some former Moroccan secret service members claimed he was abducted and murdered on orders of the former interior minister Mohammed Oufkir. (Oufkir died in 1965). Other rumors suggest the involvement of French intelligence and the CIA.
In 1965, Benslimane was an army captain and is now the chief of Morocco’s football federation. He also holds the prestigious title of commander of the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie.
The French judge, Patrick Ramael, has tried detain Benslimane for the past five years, without success.
The Moroccan embassy in London said Benslimane had attended the Olympics last week, but has since left the country.